Happy Women’s History Month! Help JWA continue to lift up Jewish women’s stories, this month and every month, by making a gift today!
Close [x]

Show [+]


Content type

Abraham Geiger

Abraham Geiger (1810-1874) was one of the most influential Jewish thinkers of the nineteenth century. He was one of the major intellectual leaders and founders of the Reform movement in Germany and a strong supporter of Jews entering European society. As part of his vision of Judaism, he argued for a Judaism oriented around the home and domestic life, but also a Judaism that both elevated and sidelined the women that had long created that domestic life.

Henriette Fürth

Despite facing ongoing anti-Semitism, journalist Henriette Katzenstein Fürth remained a passionate and vocal German patriot throughout her life. She began publishing articles on social criticism while raising eight children, eventually writing 200 articles and 30 monographs, earning both an income and a reputation for insightful journalism. She served on the Frankfurt municipal council and in 1932 she was honored by the city of Frankfurt for her 70th birthday.

Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan was the author of a pathbreaking feminist book, The Feminine Mystique, which sold millions of copies and helped to provoke a feminist movement in the United States. She was an activist and writer who hoped to improve women’s lives by co-founding the National Organization for Women and other women’s political groups. Her many books focused on women’s rights, the women’s movement, and aging.

Bilah Abigail Levy Franks

After sending her children from New York to England, Bilhah Franks began writing to her son. These letters relate her experiences of New York society and her combination of devotion to Judaism and anger at its superstitions. Franks offers a window into the attempts of colonial American Jews to retain their religious identity while still participating in the larger society.

Fiction in the United States

Literature by American Jewish women reflects historical trends in American Jewish life and indicates the changing issues facing writers who worked to position themselves as Americans, Jews, and women.

Family During the Holocaust

Although Jewish family life was destroyed and restructured in many ways during the Holocaust, it still often provided strength and a sense of normalcy. In many cases women became the family’s main income earner and were charged with many new tasks and responsibilities. Families were also frequently broken up by deportation, escape abroad, and death.

Equality, Religion and Gender in Israel

Although the principles of equality for women under the Declaration of Independence and the Women’s Equal Rights Law were not endowed with constitutional force, and the 1992 Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty does not expressly include the principle of equality, these laws have been interpreted by the courts as securing the principle of gender equality as a basic principle of the legal system.

Edna: Apocrypha

In the Book of Tobit, Edna is Raguel’s wife, Sarah’s mother, and the mother-in-law of Tobias, Tobit’s son. Edna has no biblical namesake; unlike the other women named in Tobit, her name does not evoke images from the Hebrew Bible. Perhaps the author of Tobit means to recall Eden’s idyllic existence, or, more likely, to convey by the name something about the type of woman, wife, and mother Edna is.

Die Deborah

Die Deborah was an influential American Jewish newspaper published in German from 1855 until 1902 specifically aimed at German-Jewish middle-class women. The paper’s writers and editors viewed women in high esteem as keepers of moral and spiritual values, and toward the turn of the century they came to support the values of the American feminist movement.

Helene Deutsch

Helene Deutsch was mentored by Sigmund Freud and was the first psychoanalyst to write a book on female psychology. In the 1920s she emerged as one of the most successful teachers in the history of psychoanalysis and in 1924 she became the first woman to head a psychoanalytic clinic.

Gertrude Berg

Between 1929 and 1956, The Goldbergs was a familiar presence in radio, television, film, and other popular media. Created by and starring Gertrude Berg, the program documented the trials and tribulations of a Jewish family in the Bronx, with wife and mother Molly Goldberg entertaining millions with her malapropisms and meddling ways. In 1950, Berg came to the defense of her co-star, Philip Loeb; her decision not to fire him when he was blacklisted for alleged Communist activities cut short The Goldbergs’ tenure on television, and by extension, Berg’s career.

Bathsheba: Midrash and Aggadah

As in the Bible, Bathsheba plays a secondary role in the midrashim about her husband, King David, and her son, King Solomon. The rabbis view her as a righteous, guiltless woman, both during David’s life and as an advisor to Solomon.

Bathsheba: Bible

Bathsheba is the married woman whom King David takes in adultery and who, though initially passive, becomes the pivotal figure in his downfall. The king has Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, slain in battle and then takes her as a wife. While her first child, conceived in adultery, dies, the second, Solomon, becomes heir to the throne as a consequence of Bathsheba’s maneuverings.

Devorah Baron

Devorah Baron is one of the few Hebrew women prose writers in the first half of the twentieth century to gain critical acclaim in her lifetime. She wrote primarily about Jewish women’s lives, focusing on the challenges women faced in a society that did not value them equally. Her work was in dialogue with European writers, including Chekhov and Flaubert, and with Hebrew modernist writer S. Y. Agnon.

Sadi Muriel Baron

A pioneering neurologist and psychiatrist, Sadi Muriel Baron managed to interweave teaching, working with poor urban families, and running a successful private practice. Baron was also the mother of Dr. Renée Richards, who became one of the most famous American transgender personalities after her transition in 1976.

Assimilation in the United States: Twentieth Century

Jewish women assimilating into a changing American society across the twentieth century navigated often conflicting gender roles. As they strove to achieve upward social mobility, they adapted Jewish assumptions of what women, especially married women, should do to accommodate American norms for middle class women. Their collective accomplishments registered in political activism, organizational creativity, strong support for feminism, religious innovation, and educational achievement in the face of antisemitism, stereotypes, and denigration.

Artists: Contemporary Anglo

In Britain, both feminism and feminist art took considerably longer to emerge and make their mark than in the United States, but when they did, many Jewish women artists created profound artistic work. British Jewish women artists generally hold both Jewishness and gender as central to their artistic output. Their art reveals the diverse ways in which women perceive their Jewishness in contemporary Britain.

"Second Generation" Women Artists in Israel

Israeli women artists, second generation descendants of Holocaust survivors, have expressed in their art the grim atmosphere of absence, emptiness, and loss they absorbed. Their individual responses to the Holocaust differ in intensity and power.

Gila Almagor

Israeli writer, actress, and filmmaker Gila Almagor’s acclaimed 1988 autobiographical film Summer of Aviya and its sequel Under the Domin Tree bought attention to post-Holocaust trauma and depression, which were often scorned by Israeli society. Almagor is also a founder of the Israeli Union of Performing Artists, the Tel Aviv International Film Festival, and the Gila Almagor Wishes Foundation.

Who Does She Think She Is?

Jordan Namerow

This past weekend I saw a documentary film called Who Does She Think She Is?. The film profiles five female artists who are also mothers, as well as several commentators including Tiffany Shlain, creator of The Tribe, and Courtney Martin author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and contributor to Feministing.com.

Topics: Art, Motherhood, Film

Babies, Babies, Babies

Lily Rabinoff-Goldman
Maybe like me, some of you tried to escape last summer’s heat in the movie theater, where you were privileged to see (about 20,000 times) the music video “I Wanna Have Your babies” by Natasha Bedingfield. You know, the one with the really smart chorus that goes “babies, babies, babies, babies, etc.” I had all but forgotten about that song until recently, when the theme of so much Jewish buzz in the press and on the internet seems to share the offspring theme.

"25 Questions for a Jewish Mother"

Jordan Namerow

On Saturday night, I saw Judy Gold's one-woman show 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother.

The title of her show was inspired by her quest, in partnership with playwright Kate Moira Ryan, to interview more than 50 Jewish mothers around the country, of different ages and Jewish backgrounds.

Topics: Motherhood, Comedy

Blogging for domestic workers

Judith Rosenbaum

According to salty femme, today is Blog for Domestic Workers day, timed to support JFREJ’s Shalom Bayit: Justice for Domestic Workers campaign and Domestic Workers United, who are trying to institute a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in New York State. This legislation would guarantee basic labor rights to domestic workers, who are excluded from most federal and state labor laws.

The New Jewish Mother?

Jordan Namerow

Last Sunday, I called my mother to wish her a happy Mother’s Day, hoping that she would be doing something more enjoyable than grading papers or power-washing the patio. With my mother still on my mind, I picked up a copy of You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother, by Joyce Antler. In this new book, which has gotten rave reviews, Antler explores the colorful history of the Jewish mother in American life.

Hot Jewish Moms?

Judith Rosenbaum

Today’s Forward reports on auditions for a new reality tv show called “Hottest mom in America” – ostensibly newsworthy because a special audition was held in Miami for Jewish mothers and was scheduled to avoid conflicting with Rosh Hashanah. Jeff Greenfield, the marketing exec in charge of the auditions, asserts that it’s possible a Jewish woman could win this contest.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now